COVID-19 Tracking Poll: More Than Three in Four Californians Are Worried About Contracting COVID-19

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Previous Poll Results

Get all the results from CHCF’s surveys of California’s health care providers and the general public in this collection.

To help Californians and state policymakers understand evolving demands on the state’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, CHCF is working with survey firms on two fronts. CHCF and global survey firm Ipsos are assessing residents’ desire for COVID-19 testing and their access to health care services. CHCF and Truth on Call, a physician market-research firm, are surveying different types of health care providers about availability of testing, personal protective equipment, and their experience in California’s health care delivery system. Download the charts and data for your own presentations and analyses.

July 8, 2020 — As COVID-19 cases climb statewide, 77% of Californians say they are concerned they or a family member will contract COVID-19, according to the latest tracking poll from CHCF and survey firm Ipsos.

The level of concern is higher for Californians with low incomes, with 81% saying they are concerned. In addition, 85% of Latinos, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, say they are at least “somewhat” concerned, with 61% saying they are “very” concerned. Ninety percent of Asians say they are concerned.

The survey was conducted June 26–30, before California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered indoor restaurants and other businesses to shut down in many counties to contain the increasing spread of the new coronavirus. The share of Californians who say the shelter-in-place order is being relaxed too quickly has increased from 43% three weeks ago to 53% in this survey. In this latest poll, 27% say the pace is “just right,” and 18% think the order is being relaxed “too slowly.” Responses vary along ideological, racial, and geographic lines.

This survey also finds that 73% of people who identify as “liberal” say the pace is too fast compared to 32% of those who identify as “conservative.” Fifty-six percent of people who live in urban areas say the pace is too fast compared to 41% of those in rural areas.

Seventy-one percent of Blacks think the state is reopening too quickly, a significantly higher share than that for Latinos (51%) and whites (50%).

Eighty-four percent of Californians say they are confident that, if infected, they or a family member can get the care they need. Seventy percent of Californians with low incomes — defined as incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty guidelines (PDF) — say they are “somewhat” or “very” confident they can get the care they need if infected with COVID-19.

Confidence varies significantly by race, with 93% of white Californians saying they are confident compared to 73% of Latinos. Eighty-three percent of both Blacks and Asians say they are at least “somewhat” confident they can get the care they need.

When looking at the health care system as a whole, 57% of Californians say they are confident the system is prepared for another wave of COVID-19 cases. White Californians have the highest rate of confidence in the health care system, with 63% saying they are “somewhat” or “very” confident, compared to 50% of Latinos.

With more sectors reopening, CHCF and Ipsos added new questions specifically for those who leave home to work. Of the 38% of Californians who say they “leave home to go to work,” 75% say they are concerned about exposing members of their household to the coronavirus after being exposed at work. Eighty-four percent of Latinos are concerned about exposing their family members compared to 59% of whites.

Eighty-three percent of those who leave home to go to work say their employer requires them to wear a mask at least “most of the time,” with two-thirds saying their employer requires masks “all the time.” The results vary by ethnicity, with 89% of Latinos required to wear a mask at least “most of the time,” compared to 67% of whites. One in five whites (21%) say their employer requires a mask “none of the time” compared to 5.6% of Latinos.

Just over two-thirds of Californians (69%) who leave home to go to work say their employer has “done enough to ensure employees are safe where they work,” while 21% say they have “not done enough.” Nearly 10% say they don’t know.

More than 75% of Californians continue to say they follow recommended behaviors to slow the spread of the coronavirus “all” or “most” of the time:

  • 77% say they avoid unnecessary trips out of the home all or most of the time.
  • 89% of Californians say they routinely wear a mask in public spaces all or most of the time, about 12 percentage points higher than in late April.
  • 90% say they stay at least six feet away from others in public spaces all or most of the time.
  • 91% say they frequently wash their hands with soap and water all or most of the time.

Consistent with the prior statewide poll, 8% of Californians say they have been tested for COVID-19 in the past week, and 11% say they would like the test. As in previous rounds of the tracking poll, the majority of Californians say they don’t think they need to get tested, and few Californians report trying and failing to get a COVID-19 test.

Nearly 10% of Californians say they had an in-person appointment with a provider in the last seven days. Just over 7% of Californians say they had a “telehealth” appointment — a provider appointment by phone or video — in the last week. The share of Californians reporting telehealth visits nearly doubled from late March, when the CHCF/Ipsos surveys began, through late April (not shown). Since early May, the rate of people reporting telehealth visits has been stable, at around 7%–8%.

Methodology: This survey was conducted online in Ipsos’s Omnibus using the web-enabled “KnowledgePanel,” a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the California general population, not just the online population. It was conducted in English and Spanish. The study consisted of 1,156 representative interviews conducted among California residents who are at least 18 years old between June 26, 2020, and June 30, 2020. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.